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Cebu passes ordinance protecting LGBTQIA community

The Cebu City SOGIESC Equality Ordinance was signed, mandating the LGU to recognize local the LGBTQIA community by creating an office to serve its members, developing LGBTQIA-related programs, and allocating a percentage of GAD funds for the LGBTQIA community.

In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama signed on Thursday City Ordinance 2660, or the Cebu City SOGIESC Equality Ordinance, which specifically mandates the local government unit (LGU) to recognize the local LGBTQIA community by creating an office to serve its members, developing LGBTQIA-related programs, and allocating a percentage of the Gender and Development (GAD) funds for the LGBTQIA community.

City Ordinance 2660 was submitted to the mayor’s office in June 2022.

According to Rama, “this is timely because the city will now have a body that will help fight discrimination among the members of the LGBTQ(IA).”

Under the now-signed ordinance, it is now prohibited to commit:

  1. SOGIESC-based violations against dignity (e.g. maliciously humiliating in public an individual due to the person’s SOGIESC); maliciously inflicting physical harm on any individual; vexing, harassing, threatening any individual, either physically, verbally, in writing, or for publications about to the person’s SOGIESC; and continuously subjecting any individual to jokes, pranks or humor).
  2. SOGIESC-based discrimination (e.g. invasion of personal autonomy and self-development; constraints in the access to government services and resources; constraints to economic opportunities; constraints to the access to health, care and wellness; constraints in the access to education and learning; constraints in the access of accommodation, facilities, utilities, transportation, goods and services open to the public; and constraints to access to consultative and other political processes).

Those violating the law may be jailed from three to six months and/or fined from three to five thousand pesos, or both. If a business is sued, its president, immediate manager and/or supervisor/department head shall be held liable with the erring employee.

The ordinance also mandates the LGU to establish the SOGIESC Pride Empowerment Council (SPEC), which shall advocate for empowerment and development of the sector.

Cebu City is recognized as one of the more progressive LGUs in the Philippines, with the city council passing City Ordinance 2339 on October 17, 2012 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, disability, health status, sexual orientation and gender identity, ethnicity and religion.

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